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Thursday, November 6, 2014

On Being A Sub...

Lessons Learned

A Day As A Sub

The term “Sub,” at least in an educational realm, conjures a multiplicity of images running the gamut from stern, unsmiling autocrat where fear and distance command submission, to loosey goosey, bff where control is surrendered with the very first popularity seeking smile, and every hue, tint, and shade of classroom  management style  in between.  Regardless of the image or actuality, however, the thing remains that a Sub is a target and waves of expert archers show up with each new class that walks in the door.  As a student, I remember Subs and, deep down inside, feeling very sorry for them but clearly never doing anything constructive to allay the wide-eyed look of desperation that undoubtedly appeared sometime before 9AM and lasted until the 3PM bell. Shame on me.  As a pre-teaching career, newly graduated from college Sub, I switched sides of the table and stepped extremely tentatively, even a bit sheepishly into the first classroom, knowing full well that turnabout was fair play, what goes around comes around, and all of the rest of those philosophical truths that simply pointed out the obvious; may you get what’s comin’ to ya! Let the arrows fly. I liked Subbing. It was always new. I tried to walk the tightrope between autocrat and bff, and quite honestly, some days were definitely better than others. But I did like it, except the one time I was assigned to middle school PE and had to ref a basketball game during my lunch hour that day. The only thing I knew about basketball was how to be a cheerleader for it, and my ignorance was only accentuated by the fact that I was wearing wooden clogs, a plaid woolen skirt, and a monogramed sweater; not at all suitable for one seeking the appearance of possessing a certain degree of authority.  It was a truly tragic and hopeless event, but, hey, when the lunch bell rang sending players and crowd parading back to afternoon classes, we turned the page and chalked it up to what does a Sub know? I was a music and drama specialist, for Pete’s sake! This brief stint as a Sub was followed by a lovely 30 year career in education; the career of my dreams and of my heart.  And now, well now it’s time to Sub again. It’s good. I like it. A little math, science, spelling, reading, projects, presentations, recess duty, pre-k through 5th grade; Subbing is always new.  Yesterday, though, was the first day I Subbed in my specialty of music and drama, and it was magical. We sang and sang and sang through every class through the entire day. Every song was new to the students, but they learned them all and sang them all with great gusto. We talked about stage presence and projection and the proper way to bow. Unreservedly, each class enthusiastically and wholeheartedly took up the challenge of learning the new songs and by the end of each class we had prepared our performance for us and it was undeniably fabulous.  They knew it and couldn’t stop smiling. I knew it and was so proud of them even though I barely knew their names. They fully engaged and were willing to give this Sub a chance, and I am so very thankful they did.